Slaves to the Party - Opinion
Zacharias Koulias' breaking of DIKO ranks has highlighted the meritocracy versus party rule issue that - decade after decade - reduces our chances of finding real leaders who can inspire and guide us through the major changes every society needs to survive.
Whatever you think of his position, it cannot be denied that it was his right to vote against his party's choice for the second-highest position in the country if he disagreed with it. And whether he is kicked out of his party or not makes no difference - he is still an elected member of parliament and will stay there as such.
It is likely that Koulias will be stripped of his DIKO membership for daring to go against party lines. That is the party's position, no doubt their constitution has a clause saying that anyone who ventures to express an independent opinion should be buried immediately lest any other party members be infected by the urge to think for themselves. DIKO is not the only party that has slavery to its dictates as a pre-requisite - the fact that AKEL ministers hand over their salaries to the party is quite alarming. Are our tax euros for ministers' salaries going straight into AKEL's party coffers? Do we pay our tax euros to AKEL? Or do we pay them to the Cyprus state?
So while DIKO tears itself apart, and people tune in to listen to the latest entertaining and undignified fight between politicians, here's what's happening in our country:
- Unemployment has risen to over 28,000 people, the highest level since the war in 1974.
- The economy grew by zero percent in the first quarter of 2011.
- We have high levels of pollution and environmental damage that gets worse every day.
- Crime is rising out of control, with ordinary peoples' homes being broken into and petty thieves bold enough to rob banks.
- Football hooligans throw molotov cocktails at each other with practical impunity.
- Road deaths and injuries from road accidents are an everyday fact of life.
- Our divided communities are not coming closer together and we live in an occupied country with no sign that Turkish troops will get out of territory that does not belong to them.
In this reporter's opinion, these problems are bigger than all the parties put together. So where are the lawmakers and leaders to guide us out of these social and economic issues? Fighting with each other, insulting each other in public, making power plays to make themselves feel bigger, behaving like children, and refusing to deal with the real business of parliament - improving society and fixing problems.